If your home has an existing flea problem, it is crucial to act straight away as fleas can multiply very quickly
The good news is that if you regularly treat your home and yard, and crucially your pets, it is possible to get rid of fleas.
Professional flea control treatment is recommended to treat an existing problem. However, good sanitation, which includes vacuuming, also plays a vital role in both flea control and flea prevention.
Getting rid of fleas in your home requires collaboration between homeowners and their local Ehrlich technician to ensure optimum success.
At Ehrlich, we follow four major steps in our approach to flea control.
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Knowledge about fleas and their lifecycle is essential when planning any flea control program. By understanding flea habitats, both homeowners and pest control technicians will know where to focus their control efforts to ensure success.
Adult fleas must feed on a host animal before it can lay eggs. Adult fleas live primarily on their host animal. Therefore pet care and flea prevention for your pets is critical to a successful flea control plan.
Flea eggs are laid soon after a blood meal. Eggs are smooth and round and are naturally designed to roll off the host animal and are generally deposited in pet bedding or distributed to other parts of a home where the animal spends time. A female flea lays a few eggs each day and between 200 and 400 in her lifetime. As part of a home inspection, identifying areas your pets like to inhabit is critical to knowing where control efforts need to be concentrated.
Flea larvae hatch out of eggs and live in the environment (eg. pet bedding, cat baskets, carpet fibers) and they feed off adult flea feces (flea dirt). Although very small, their white color is visible to the naked eye, especially on dark surfaces. This stage lasts for about 24 days. Flea larvae can be eradicated through the conventional use of a vacuum cleaner.
The flea larvae spin a cocoon around themselves, which protects them from their surroundings and makes them resistant to pesticides. Fleas can lie dormant in a pupil cocoon for up to 4 months. As more larvae mature and turn into pupae, the number of mature fleas lying dormant can reach very high numbers. This is the reason why upon entering a previously vacant property it is possible for hundreds of fleas to emerge at once, stimulated by the vibration of footsteps and the increase in heat inside a home.
Most importantly, the cocoon protection is the primary reason why it is possible to detect adult flea activity even after professional treatment. Turning up the heat inside a home prior to treatment will help to stimulate adult fleas to emerge from cocoons and thus make them vulnerable to pesticides.
At Ehrlich, we strongly advise homeowners to follow a series of steps in preparation for professional flea treatment. We believe that these preparation requirements are vital to a successful flea control program.
See below some of the basic sanitation practices recommended to homeowners:
All articles such as toys, pet food, shoes and boxes must be picked up from floors, closets and under beds prior to treatment. These articles may be placed on tables or beds, but not on upholstered furniture that is to be treated.
Pet bedding should be washed in hot water or discarded. If discarded, place in plastic trash bags and seal tightly.
Floors, carpeting and upholstered furniture must be thoroughly vacuumed prior to the treatment. After vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag in tightly sealed plastic bag.
Your local Ehrlich technician will be able to provide you with a full copy of this flea preparation document.
Once the flea hotspots have been identified in your home, it is the job of your local technician to apply appropriate pesticide materials into the affected areas (including under beds and dressers). Special care will be paid to micro-cracks and small voids, where eggs and larvae may have dropped. Basements and garages will also be treated using compressed air sprayers, if required.
In wall-to-wall carpeted rooms, spot applications will be made to areas where pets spend most of their time. Small area carpets will be treated on both sides but larger carpets will be treated mainly on top and under the first few feet of the edge. For oriental and other more valuable rugs, we recommend these are removed prior to treatment and professionally cleaned and treated.
Upholstered furniture will also be treated and applications will concentrate around the edges and seams (and not on the flat seating surfaces). Homeowners will have to allow for some drying time after application of pesticides.
Fish tanks need to be covered and filters turned off during treatment as products used to control fleas are extremely toxic to fish.
Pets will need to be kept out of your home (and possibly yard) during treatment and until the products applied have completely dried. Pet food and water dishes will also need to be removed.
We strongly recommend that your pets are treated for fleas on the same day as treatment for your home. Adult fleas spend most of their time on animals and not in your carpet. Untreated pets will continue to be bothered by fleas and will simply transport fleas back inside your home, making your home treatment ineffective.
Treating your pets for fleas is essential to get rid of fleas in your home!
Outside, shaded areas will also be treated if required, along with pet runs, kennels, doghouses and any other flea hotspots discovered during the initial home inspection. It is often not necessary to treat your entire yard, as fleas do not survive well in areas in full sun. Efforts are often concentrated in shadier spots in the yard.
Spot applications, using a backpack or power sprayer, can be made to driveways, patios and porches. People and pets will need to be kept away from these areas until materials have fully dried out.
Good sanitation practices can play a vital role in flea prevention and control. In homes, where there is no pre-existing flea problem, regular cleaning and routine flea care for pets can greatly help to reduce the risk of a flea infestation and the need for professional pest control.
Unfortunately even with the best care, it is difficult to fully protect any dog or cat from fleas, and therefore pet owners will always be at greater risk.
You can still have a problem with fleas even if you do not own pets. Fleas can be carried into a home on a person. Once inside your home, they can bite you, but at least they will be unable to reproduce due to the absence of an animal host. This means that in homes without pets, the use of pesticides is rarely required and a thorough vacuum and sanitation of your home may be all that is needed to control fleas.
The simple act of regular and thorough vacuuming can make a real difference to flea prevention and control. Detailed vacuuming will remove the majority of fleas, and most importantly all the different life stages of a flea. It also picks up flea dirt (term used to describe dried feHow to get riceaces of fleas), which looks like ground pepper, and which would otherwise help flea larvae to survive.
It is almost impossible to fully protect your pet from fleas, as fleas and their eggs can live and survive in grass and soil and in cracks in sidewalks, from where they can hitch-hike a ride into your home on your pet’s fur.
If you choose to use an over the counter flea treatment for your pet you must be aware that the materials used on cats are different that those used on dogs. Be sure you only use a cat or dog specific material on your pet and consult your vet if there are signs of irritation such as reddening of the skin or if there are thin patches in your pet’s coat.
Prevention is always better than cure, and although it may seem like a lot of effort, these tasks can greatly reduce the risk of a serious flea problem and the need for professional flea treatment.
Call Ehrlich at (888) 976-4649 for more advice about fleas.
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